Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) will be providing Screening for Mental Health Inc.'s (SMH) SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS Program) to schools nationwide as part of its Know The Signs violence prevention programs. SHP presenters will train school staff, faculty, parents, and students about the risk factors and warning signs for youth suicide and how to stop violence and self-harm BEFORE it happens.
"Sandy Hook Promise is proud to work with Screening for Mental Health by extending the reach of their suicide prevention initiative, to protect and support the next generation. By offering SMH's SOS Program to our network of schools, we hope that students, parents and teachers can help identify young people at risk of suicide. Sandy Hook Promise's strategy of building awareness of the causes and signs of violence, reducing bullying, and promoting social inclusion, has already proven to be highly effective, and we hope to ensure that vulnerable young people and their families receive the support they need to prevent future tragedies," said Nicole Hockley, Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of 6-year old Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
"Screening for Mental Health is delighted to partner with Sandy Hook Promise to bring the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program to more schools nationwide and have more students learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide in themselves and their peers," said Meghan Diamon, Senior Manager, Suicide Prevention Programs, Screening for Mental Health. "Having the SOS Program be part of the Know the Signs violence prevention programs delivers an important message to the audience that suicide prevention is a key component of violence prevention."
Prevalence of Suicide in the U.S.
In recent years, the suicide rate amongst teens has escalated, a pattern that can be attributed to a range of factors such as the prevalence of depression and cyber-bullying.
Between 2007 and 2014, the suicide rate among U.S. middle school-aged kids doubled, according to research published in November 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (from 180 suicides in 2007, to 425 in 2014), surpassing motor vehicle injury and homicide as the leading cause of death.
Since they began their outreach in 2015, Sandy Hook Promise has trained nearly 2 million youth and adults across the country with their no-cost, evidence-based violence prevention programs for educators, students and youth organizations. Through their innovative initiatives, Sandy Hook Promise has helped avert multiple school shootings, suicides and threats and acts of self-harm violence, as well as reduced the incidences of bullying nationally.
About the SOS Program
The SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is the only youth suicide prevention program that has demonstrated an improvement in students' knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, as well as a reduction in actual suicide attempts. Listed on SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, the SOS Program has shown a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40-64% in randomized control studies (Aseltine et al., 2007 & Schilling et al., 2016).
SOS is unique among school-based suicide prevention programs as it incorporates two prominent suicide prevention strategies into a single program: an educational curriculum that raises awareness about suicide and depression, and a brief screening for depression.
The SOS Program joins part of the series of highly-successful Sandy Hook Promise Know The Signs violence prevention programs, including Say Something, Start With Hello, and Safety Assessment & Intervention, which have been implemented in schools and colleges to recognize, assess and respond to potential signs of violence early on, as well as address chronic social isolation and bullying. Most recently, Sandy Hook Promise also recently partnered with SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) to extend the reach of their programs to an even wider number of schools, colleges and communities across the United States.